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Australia

G'day mate and welcome to Australia.    Australia is known as the "Land Down Under".

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j0186200.wmf (5750 bytes) Australia's People
Some people who live in the outback are so far away from the towns and cities that they do not have schools near them.   Students who live deep in the outback can study through a special program called The School of the Air.  The students talk to their teachers on a two-way radio and they get assignments through the mail. 

Australia's Homes
Most people in Australia live in a single-story home.  Most homes are built of wood or brick and have a yard with a garden.  There are few apartment buildings in Australia.

Australia's Culture
The Aboriginal people of Australia have been living there for more than 50,000 years.  It was only about 200 years ago in the late 1700's that settlers from Britain and Europe came to Australia.   Now people from all over the world live there.

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Australia's Foods

Australians eat many different foods.  You will find many of the same foods that you eat, regardless of your culture.  Some Australian foods are seafood (shrimp and fish), meat pies, and vegemite sandwiches.

Australia's Activities
Water sports and activities such as scuba diving, snorkeling, swimming, and boating are popular in Australia because most people live near the ocean.  The Great Barrier Reef is the largest coral reef in the world and is one of Australia's most popular tourist attractions.  The waters around the Great Barrier Reef are warm throughout the year and attract many skin divers.

Outdoor sports are also very popular.  Among the most popular sports are cricket, rugby, and soccer.

Many different types of marsupials can be found in Australia.  Among them are kangaroos, koala bears, wombats, and wallabies.

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Australia's Holidays and Celebrations 
Australia Day is celebrated on January 26th, the day that Captain Arthur Phillip landed in Australia in 1788.  On this day, Captain Arthur Phillip began the first European settlement on the continent and proclaimed the land to be a British possession.  On Australia Day there are flag ceremonies.  People in the ceremony wear costumes from 1788.  It is also a celebration of Australian culture.  Canberra and Sydney hold events with fireworks and cultural fairs.  Australia Day celebrates the first European settlement, but the Aboriginal people of Australia have been living there for as many as 100,000 years.   Most cultural festivals during this holiday recognize and celebrate the heritage of the Aboriginal people as well. 
Australia's Land
The center of Australia is called the outback.  The outback is open land, bush country and desert.  It is one of the hottest places on Earth.  There is a massive block of sandstone which stands almost in the middle of Australia.  The Aborigines call it Uluru, although some Australians refer to it as Ayers Rock.  Uluru is a sacred site to the Aboriginal people.   Caves in the rock contain paintings that were created by the Aborigines more than a thousand years ago.  Uluru is almost 6 miles long and 1,142 feet high.

The Great Barrier Reef is considered one of the world's most beautiful natural wonders.   The reef is found off of the coast of Queensland.

Australia's Cities
The Sydney Opera House is one of the most famous pieces of modern architecture in the world.  It was built in 1973.  Australia's two major cities are Sydney and Melbourne.  About 85% of Australia's people live in cities or on the coast.   Melbourne is the capital of Victoria State.  It is Australia's second largest city.  It is a modern city that produces many products including ships and automobiles.

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j0189480.jpg (41895 bytes) Australia's Facts:
Area:
2,966,150 sq mi.
Capital City:
Canberra
Population: 19.5 million
Main Language: English and native languages
Currency: Australian dollar
Agriculture—products: wheat, barley, sugarcane, fruits; cattle, sheep, poultry.


References:
General Guide to Australia, http://public-www.pi.se/~orbit/gen.html
Australia Online, http://www.australia-online.com/
Australian People, http://www.kdu.com/auspeop.html
Trishan's Page of Oz, http://www.ozramp.net.au/~senani/mainpage.htm
Lonely Planet, http://www.lonelyplanet.com
All images from Microsoft Office Clip Art and Gallery licensed through Microsoft Front Page and Microsoft.
Graham, Leland and Brandon, Traci.  A Trip Around the World.   North Carolina: Carson-Dellosa Publishing Company,  1996.
Graham, Leland and Brandon, Traci.  Another Trip Around the World.   North Carolina: Carson-Dellosa Publishing Company,  1996.
Adams, Ganeri, and Kay.  The DK Geography of the World.  New York: DK Publishing,  1996.

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